Yes. I love bread. Three to four years ago when the South Beach and Atkins diets were all the rage, I tried to cut down on bagels, crackers, french bread, pasta, rice, and cereal. Tried. Okay, so I actually didn’t really make that much of an effort, but I’ve made up for it by committing myself to the gym four to five times a week. Of course, the worst thing for someone like me, other than eating and buying massive amounts of carbs, is learning how to make them myself. As the saying goes, you make it, you eat it. All right, I’ll admit I made that one up, but it’s true.
A couple weeks ago, I was on Food Gawker and I saw the most delectably warm, salty, and perfectly browned soft pretzels. I nearly died. Here’s the thing–while I’ll most definitely eat your basic sliced wheat (not white anymore, ha!) bread, store-bought crackers, and Special K with Redberries until I die of carb overload, I would swear to stop eating any of those things for an entire year for just ONE bite of fresh home-baked bread. I’m that crazy. About fresh bread.
This was the first time I made these pretzels, adapted from sugarlaws‘ recipe. I did some things differently to make the recipe work for me and the next time I make them I’ll be a little more adventurous with flavors. For starters, I added about 1/3 cup more water to the dough to help it come together and I didn’t have that instant yeast stuff so I had to wait about an extra hour for my dough to rise. My pretzels also turned out darker because of the eggwash. I’ll also probably boil them for fewer seconds a side next time to avoid that extra baking soda getting to the flavor of a couple of my pretzels.
Ingredients (adapted from sugarlaws):
1 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp baking soda
2 cups of water
1 egg + 1 tbsp water
1. let yeast proof in warm water with pinch of sugar. about 5 minutes.
2. mix dry ingredients and 1 tbsp canola oil in separate bowl, then incorporate into water and yeast mixture.
3. knead for about five minutes, cover and put in a relatively warm place. let rise for an hour if you used active yeast out of the packets, let rise for about two hours if you used traditional yeast.
4. preheat oven to 425 degrees. line baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. crack egg and beat with 1 tbsp water to make eggwash.
6. divide dough into six pieces and roll out into about 1/2 inch diameter ropes (about 15 inches long). make a “U,” cross ends and bring inwards, twist one more time, and rest them on the bottom of the “U.”
7. boil water and baking soda. Put pretzels in for 20 seconds a side. Take them out and put them on parchment paper.
8. brush egg wash and sprinkle salt or other seasonings (cinnamon sugar, cheese, etc.) on top
9. bake for 12 to 14 minutes.